It used to be easy for English-speaking anime fans to decide on whether to watch one episode of a series per week or burn through the whole thing at once. Limited sources of anime usually meant that you had to wait for a series to air on a local channel or get the entire series on DVD. Now that times have changed, you can opt to stream episodes online the moment they air in Japan, and some Japanese anime companies are even releasing series with English subtitles. With more options available, fans can actually decide to follow a series as it is airing or wait until it’s over to watch it all at once. Here we’ll consider the pros and cons of both methods.
Watching anime as it’s released has the obvious advantage of keeping you up to date with the series. For people who can’t wait to see what happens, this is the preferred viewing method. Another advantage to following a series is that you can join in discussions with people about what will happen next or other aspects of the series. This becomes difficult after completing an anime because most of the questions brought up would likely have been answered.
The main disadvantage to following an anime week-by-week is that sometimes it feels like torture waiting for the next episode. Ending episodes on a cliffhanger is a long-used technique to get audiences to continue watching a series. If you’re impatient and get angry easily then you probably don’t want to watch anime weekly. Following a longer series also means that you’re likely to forget some important plot points. Just think about what can you remember from 20 weeks ago; your ability to remember details could affect your enjoyment of a series.
Watching an anime series all in one go or over a short period negates the problem of forgetting what happened before because it would still be fresh on your mind. You can get the full enjoyment out of a series and not get angry at having to wait to see what happens. Marathoning a series also has the advantage of allowing the viewer to decide when they want to watch a series.
The obvious disadvantage to marathoning a series is that you’ll be out of the loop while it’s airing and usually by the time you finish watching it, everyone else would have moved on. Discussing anime can be just as fun as watching it and going through a series after it’s complete can really take away from that. Another problem that has become more prevalent is trying to avoid spoilers. With social media platforms like Twitter and the sheer number of anime blogs out there, it’s hard to avoid reading something you shouldn’t have. Take for example, Puella Magi Madoka Magica; about a week after episode 3 aired, practically everyone that read about anime online knew about what happened to Mami, even those that didn’t watch the series. Of course, this isn’t a problem if you don’t like talking or reading about anime.
Personally, I prefer following a series as it airs. Being one of those fans that like to keep up with what’s happening in the anime world, I find that following the latest series is necessary to stay in the loop. This isn’t for everyone though, so I’d like to hear your thoughts on the matter. Do you prefer to watch anime as it airs or watch it all in one go after it’s complete?